G20 countries are not doing enough to meet pledges made five years ago under the Paris Agreement, let alone make the bolder promises expected of them at COP26 in Glasgow this November, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).
The analyst’s G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard report looked at the decarbonisation policies put in place by the 19 countries and the EU, and found that none of them have implemented regimes to realise their Paris Agreement goals.
“The high-level pledges over the last year, in particular, have been impressive with major economies such as the EU, Japan, South Korea and China all promising to get to ‘net-zero’ emissions or carbon neutrality at some future date,” said Victoria Cuming, head of global policy analysis at BNEF.
“But the reality is that countries simply haven’t done enough at home with follow-through policies to meet even the promises made more than five years ago.”
BNEF assessed policies in the power sector, fuel decarbonisation, transport, buildings (mainly heat), industry and the circular economy and scored them out of 100%, depending on what they had put into practice.
Germany came out on top with 73%, followed by France (71%), South Korea (65%), the UK (64%) and Japan (63%). The US (44%) and Australia (43%) came last among developed nations, with Saudi Arabia (26%) and Russia (22%) in last place overall.
The analyst said that nations should set roadmaps for how to achieve their long-term emissions goals, including setting targets for renewables capacity, the number of electric vehicles they want to see on their roads and how many tonnes of green hydrogen they want to produce.
“These can signal a government’s intentions to the market and highlight potential investment opportunities,” the report said.
“However, targets are generally only effective if they are both ambitious enough to require significant change and realistic enough not to be meaningless. Examples of the latter include Saudi Arabia’s target for 27.3GW of renewables capacity by 2024 and 58.7GW by 2030. As of year-end 2019, the country had just 0.4GW installed.”
Once set, targets “must be paired with concrete follow-through policies”, said the study, pointing to clean-energy plans in India and the UK that do not have any incentives to support them.
It also said that fossil-fuel subsidies must be immediately abandoned; mandates or bans should be considered to “force system change”, such as abolishing coal-fired power; and that the decarbonization of heating, transport and heavy industry must be more seriously considered.
“While some power-sector policies have delivered results, most countries have done little elsewhere in the economy,” said Cuming. “And even within each sector, it’s not enough to implement incentives for one technology — multiple pathways are required.”